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Gabriel García Márquez

In honor of Gabriel García Márquez, who passed away this week, I’d like to share a passage from One Hundred Years of Solitude, brilliantly translated into English by Gregory Rabassa:

… Úrsula wondered if it was not preferable to lie down once and for all in her grave and let them throw the earth over her, and she asked God, without fear, if he really believed that people were made of iron in order to bear so many troubles and mortifications; and asking over and over she was stirring up her own confusion and she felt irrepressible desires to let herself go and scamper about like a foreigner and allow herself at last an instant of rebellion, that instant yearned for so many times and so many times postponed, putting her resignation aside and shitting on everything once and for all and drawing out of her heart the infinite stacks of bad words that she had been forced to swallow over a century of conformity.

     “Shit!” she shouted.

     Amaranta, who was starting to put the clothes into the trunk, thought that she had been bitten by a scorpion.

     “Where is it?” she asked in alarm.

     “What?”

     “The bug!” Amaranta said.

     Úrsula put a finger on her heart.

     “Here,” she said.

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Tango Indulgence

“There are no full stops in nature; neither is there absolute silence. The world and everything in it would have to stop breathing. Musicians and dancers know perhaps better than anyone else about this subconscious hum that accompanies us in ordinary and extraordinary life. Composer Carl Nielsen spoke to this when he said, ‘For what is … a rest? It is a continuation of the music; a cloth draped over a plastic figure, concealing part of it. We cannot see the figure under the draping, but we know … that it is there; and we feel the organic connection between what we see and what we do not…. The rests, then, are just as important as the notes. Often, they are far more expressive and appealing to the imagination’ (Fisk and Nicholas 1997:216). Dancers and musicians are constantly playing with pauses, creating the illusion of stillness or silence, balancing interpretations between moments of overpowering sound and movement and those illusory moments in which there appears to be nothing.”
Anya Peterson Royce, Anthropology of the Performing Arts (142)

One of my favorite parts of tango is playing with pauses, creating those moments where, to an outside observer, it looks like we’re still. But within the embrace, I can feel the hum of energy. I can feel our breath and anticipation, and even in the quietest moments I can feel the music all around me.

Argentine tango, danced socially, is quite a bit different from the passionate display you see on stage. For me, it is expressive and playful and all about becoming absorbed in the music, finding and feeling that balance between overpowering movement and the illusion of stillness. To illustrate, I offer you one of the only videos I’ve ever seen of (gulp) me dancing tango, from about four years ago:

Railing Train Tracks 2

Copyright in the Digital Age

While working on my post about Louis CK yesterday, I was looking for video clips to share. And I kept coming across clips from his standup shows that random people had obviously ripped off and uploaded to YouTube.

So I checked his website to see what he says about sharing videos of his shows. And he clearly asks people not to:

We only ask that you do not redistribute or sell the material. Once you download a show, it’s yours to keep forever, and yours to use for any reasonable personal use.

(The clip I shared was shown when Louis CK won Person of the Year at the Webby Awards — I specifically chose it because the awards show uploaded it to their own YouTube channel.)

I discovered something odd while browsing YouTube videos, though. When people decide to upload and redistribute these videos, many seem to think a little disclaimer will make it ok. And the disclaimer looks something like this:

I did not create this nor do I own the rights to it. I am simply uploading this for pure entertainment and potential educational purposes.

What?! So I looked around YouTube for more examples, and I came across this gem:

I do not claim copyright in any form. All credit goes to creators and staff.

Clearly, these people do not have a clue what copyright means. Copyright “grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution” (Wikipedia). If you don’t hold the copyright, you don’t have the right to copy or distribute it. Yes, even on YouTube. Even for entertainment and education.

And really, I’m not surprised that people are sharing this material. Piracy is a huge issue in the creative world, especially when files are so easy to save and share. And I think arguments can be made for both sides about online sharing and the impact on the creator’s income. But whichever side you fall on, if you choose to upload and share creative works online, you should know what you’re doing — and please, have a little respect for the folks who created that material in the first place.